Thursday, December 26, 2013
Do Heroes Need to Fall in Love?
L.J. Sellers (Guest Blogger)
The winner of the drawing for L.J. Sellers's The Trigger is Thelma Straw.
The support for that notion is that all humans crave love and that we all want to find the right partner and fall in love. When I think about two of my favorite novels from a few years ago (The Lock Artist and Beat the Reaper)—they both had an intense love story as a critical, motivating component, even though they were crime fiction. So it’s hard to disagree with the idea that novels can benefit from a compelling relationship.
But what about detective series, where the relationship blossoms in the first or second book? After that, the protagonist’s love interest may only be a small part of the overall story, and the focus is certainly not on the main character falling in love. Readers enjoy those series, and they don’t expect a budding romance in every new book. So I have to conclude that not every thriller needs a romantic relationship either. Some that I enjoyed recently didn’t. (The Survivors Club and Before I Go to Sleep) Additionally, some thriller series are popular without having recurring partner-characters. Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, for example, has intimate encounters, but they’re not essential to the plot and they don’t blossom into long-term affairs.
As I wrote the first book, I worried that some readers would want, even expect, the protagonist to fall in love and get together with another agent. Some early readers expressed hope that it might happen in the next book. But I’m going to resist that pull. It simply doesn’t feel true to the character. I can only think of a few females in crime fiction who remain emotionally detached: the character in The Informationist and Lisbeth Salander in GWTDT. But I’m sure there are more.
The Trigger, book one with Dallas as the protagonist, releases January 1, and I’m hoping readers will support my choice to let her be independent, sexually liberated, and not prone to falling in love. Call it an endearing character flaw.
What’s your opinion? Does every novel need a love story? Are series characters better with long-term partners? Do you read non-romantic suspense?
L.J. Sellers writes the bestselling Detective Jackson mystery series—a two-time Readers Favorite Award winner—as well as standalone thrillers. L.J. resides in Eugene, Oregon and is an award-winning journalist who earned the Grand Neal. When not plotting murders, she enjoys standup comedy, cycling, social networking, and attending mystery conferences. She’s also been known to jump out of airplanes. You can find her at LJSellers.com, Crime Fiction Collective, Facebook, and Twitter.
LJ is giving away a copy of The Trigger, print or e-book (winner's choice) in a drawing among visitors who post a comment on today's blog. The lucky winner will be announced on the blog tomorrow.